Leah Andersen stormed into her house in a fit of rage. Her hair was whipping behind her as she walked rapidly into her small house. When she saw Bruno sitting there on the couch she couldn’t hold her anger in any longer. She exploded.
“You really have no idea what an asshole you are do you?” Leah was angry and upset and she had every right to be. She started yelling at Bruno before he even registered that she was in the room. He didn’t know what hit him as he sat clueless on the couch. It was eight thirty in the morning on a Tuesday and for some reason, Bruno was home. She was too angry to care about why he was sitting there. She was only focused on one thing: Bruno had dropped the ball, yet again.
After living together for two years she had finally lost her temper with his inconsiderate nature. At first it was little things like forgetting to put the dishes in the dishwasher or leaving dirty clothes around the house. Then it turned into larger things like leaving the car running in the garage or forgetting to turn the stove off. The final straw was when he took the dog, he was old and frail to begin with, to the park and let him run loose only to forget he brought the dog to the park with him. The dog, luckily, showed up at the house three hours later but it could have ended much worse. She was still upset about that and partially blamed Bruno for having to put the dog down a few months after the park incident. Still, she was a kind person and she had compassion for people. She worried about Bruno and she wondered if he was getting sick. As she stood there yelling at him he stared at her open mouthed as if he did nothing wrong, as usual.
“Leah, calm down baby, I don’t know what you’re so upset about,” he said with no sympathy and no remorse that it made her even angrier than she had been. He didn’t even shift his position on the couch and he kept flicking his eyes back to whatever program he was watching on television. She was still upset over the encounter she had with her former boss and she was trembling with fury. She felt her pulse race and she felt an unfamiliar energy spread over her entire body. She spun the red jasper bracelet on her wrist and took a deep breath before speaking again.
“Really, you have no idea what could have made me so angry?” He put his hands out in front of him showing his complete cluelessness of the situation. Leah grunted and walked into the kitchen away from him. She needed to get away from him. She was fighting back tears as well as anger and she felt like she was about to completely lose control.
“Baby, what is it?” He asked tenderly trying to touch her shoulder as he followed her out of the room. She had a feeling it was the first time he had been off the couch all morning. She pushed his hand away and turned around to face him and he jumped back when he looked into her eyes. It was like he saw something in her eyes that he didn’t like, something that scared him.
“Did you take any phone calls for me at all in the last few days?” She put her hands on her hips standing only inches away from his face. Her temper was flaring and her senses were heightened. She could smell the shame on him. She could smell his fear. His longish black hair hung in his eyes and there were beads of sweat on his forehead. Then she saw his face change as he realized what he neglected to tell her.
“Oh shit,” he said looking down and shuffling his bare feet. She glared at him.
“Yeah, oh shit.” Leah walked away from him yet again trying to escape his stupid accent and his whiny voice. It was the same accent that she fell in love with when they first met. Now she wanted to mute him. She couldn’t stand how his voice sounded so shrill when he was concerned. She wanted to push him down and kick him in the stomach, and worse, she wanted to rip his throat out. She was beyond pissed.
“I need you to leave,” she said flatly as she faced the wall, her voice trembled with anger. Part of her was frightened about how angry she was. The other part was enjoying it.
“Okay, okay I can do that. I can give you some time,” he said clumsily pushing his hair out of his face. Leah realized it was greasy and wondered when he had last showered. He was wearing a pair of grungy sweatpants and a t-shirt that was filled with holes. She took a deep breath and could smell the sweat pouring from his body. She stifled a gag and put a hand over her nose and mouth. She hadn’t been paying much attention to him lately because of her book, but she thought she would have noticed this. He had turned into a slob.
“No, Bruno, I need you to leave,” she emphasized the word “leave” and understanding spread across his face.
“Leah, no you can’t mean that.
I love you, you know that, we have a good thing here, we have a future together,” he said whining and begging and it made her even angrier. She imagined how easy it would be to snap his neck and get rid of his body. She shook the thought away realizing how rash and unreasonable it was and hesitantly turned to face him.
“No Bruno, we haven’t had a good thing in a long time. There is no future for us, it’s over now. Those phone calls…how could you? You have no idea how important they were. Bruno, I don’t know what’s happened to you. I don’t know who you are anymore.” He looked at his hands guiltily but with a shadow of a smirk dancing on his lips and she became curious, “What? What is it? Are you hiding something from me?” She asked trying to calm her emotions; she spun the bracelet on her wrist again. Her anger was still rippling all around her. She could feel every hair on her body standing on edge.
“You are going to be mad but, I don’t think it can get much worse. Can it?” He asked sheepishly, smiling like a moron and rocking from one foot to the other. It took every ounce of restraint that she had not to knock the smile off of his face.
“That depends,” she said annoyed. He nodded his head and walked back into the kitchen and out the door that led into the garage. She was curious. When he came back in he was holding a plant in his hand that she recognized immediately. He stood there holding it gingerly as if it were a sick child and she sneered at him, “What is that doing in my house?”
She demanded answers trying to keep her anger in check, but it was getting harder. She bought the house with the money her parents left her when they died. She didn’t need him or the marijuana plant that he so shamelessly brought into her home.
“I needed some money,” he said this as if it explained everything. She just scowled at him and her head was pounding but not with pain, it was pulsating with energy. She needed him to leave or she was going to do something she would regret. “I was laid off from my job,” he said this as if it would now make her see the light, as if now she would accept the fact that he had been selling marijuana from her garage. She just continued to stare at him afraid to move. She was afraid that any movement she made would be the wrong one. She couldn’t risk it. She had no idea he had lost his job. “Actually, no that’s a lie, I was fired.” Great, it gets better, she thought standing as still as a statue.
“What did you do to get fired?” She asked through gritted teeth and to her surprise he got angry.
“See! This is exactly why I didn’t tell you. I knew you would assume it was my fault,” his voice was raising and it cracked and it caused her to laugh. “She was asking for it.” He spoke under his breath and she was sure he didn’t mean to speak out loud. She tilted her head in confusion.
“Who was asking for what, Bruno?” She clenched and unclenched her fists counting to ten and breathing deeply trying to calm herself down. She saw the shock appear on his face when he realized he had spoken rather than just thought the comment.
“You should have seen the skirt on her,” he said. “She had been taunting me with her clothes for weeks and then she shows up wearing this skirt that was so short you could almost see her ass. She was asking for it to be smacked. She wanted me to do it. It’s not my fault my boss happened to come in at the wrong moment. He thought it was inappropriate behavior.” He jumped back because Leah was inches away from him and she was breathing in his face. She could smell the fear oozing out of his pours and she liked it.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” she said as her nostrils flared. She was seething with anger and Bruno cowered as she yelled questions at him, “You smacked some woman’s ass in your place of work? I don’t even know you anymore. What the hell is wrong with you?” She was screaming at him now and he was recoiling against the wall like a cornered animal.
“Nothing is wrong with me. I’m a man for crying out loud and she was teasing me with her body. She wanted me to do it. Leah, please, it was her fault can’t you see that? She was half naked at work,” she laughed at him.
“You’re pathetic. It’s not that woman’s fault that you’re a pig. Almost as soon as we got together you changed. Amalia was nice enough to introduce us and then your true colors came out. She was right about you. Everything she ever thought about you was true. I can’t believe you would disrespect me like that and still act like everything was fine; I can’t believe I put up with your crap for as long as I did. To think, I was actually concerned about you. I thought you were sick!”
“Leah, I needed the money, I didn’t know what to do.” He fell back to his original argument. “I knew you would be upset with me but I swear she was asking for it.” He paused as if he was thinking of saying something else. She thought he was going to keep quiet and then he said, “As far as Amalia is concerned she was jealous because I went for you instead of her, that witch bitch.” She moved toward him and grabbed his neck.
“That’s enough! You do not talk about Amalia that way. You thought you would bring an illegal plant into my house and sell it for money all because you acted inappropriately. You’re lucky you didn’t get sued! You are in no position to pass judgment on anyone.” She looked in his eyes and saw genuine fear and that is when she realized she was gripping his throat. She released him and turned away. Then she had a thought and turned back to face him with a snarl, “Have you been smoking your product?” She asked clenching her jaw tight and was even more pissed when he started to laugh.
“Yeah, actually,” he said while rubbing his throat. It had already started to turn red where Leah had grabbed him. “What else was I going to do all day?” He cowered against the wall again holding the plant as if he was afraid she would grab his neck again.
“Is that the only one?” She asked.
“No,” he admitted it with no problem. It was like someone had given him a truth serum or maybe he was afraid of her.
“I want you to take your hobby and get out of my house and out of my life,” he stopped laughing.
“No, Leah, please. I needed the money but then I got curious. It’s amazing! It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt in my life. It makes me feel so free.” He was trying to convince her that it was okay to sell pot and to smoke it and she could tell that he seriously thought she was going to buy this crap. “I have nowhere to go,” he said in a last ditch effort to get her sympathy. It didn’t work.
“Bruno, I cannot forgive you for this. I cannot forgive you for not telling me about those phone calls and I cannot forgive you for disrespecting me. It’s over; I need you to leave now. I’m going out for a while. When I get back I want you and all of your things gone.” She waved a hand at his new hobby but didn’t wait for a reply. She turned back and said, “Now you really are free. Goodbye Bruno.” She left him standing there holding his precious plant and hoped he would listen to her. If he didn’t she was afraid of what she might do.